Agriculture focuses on strengthening infrastructure to boost agricultural growth

March 26, 2021

Agriculture growth, development and expansion will be boosted after basic critical infrastructure is strengthened, says Minister for Agriculture, Waterways and Environment, the Hon. Dr Mahendra Reddy.

He made the remarks at the recent Grant contract signing between Japan and the Ministry of Agriculture formalizing Japan’s assistance to give almost $USD189k to the Ministry to procure a new excavator and two tip trucks to develop farm roads in the Northern Division.

“We want to increase agriculture produce and exports. We have noted following the COVID-19 pandemic, there is massive interest from external partners to procure our produce.

“It has really pushed us to look at how we can expand and grow agriculture so we can service the export sector and progressively increase the volume of exports from Fiji,” the Minister said.

Dr Reddy explained when the borders would re-open, the tourism sector would also re-open that would mean competing demand from tourism as well as from the export market.

He said the general trend seen in developed countries when primary produce exports continued to increase, land would move from the primary sector to secondary to service sector where in the medium term it would ensure an increased demand for agriculture export.

“When we are able to brand our produce and products well, we will be able to bring in the surplus into Fiji.

“We do not want to be caught in a situation where we may need to reduce our exports and divert our produce to the tourism sector. We want to not only fulfill the demand from both but also to increase supply to both sectors,” he said.

The Minister explained these strategies were part of the Ministry’s agriculture development which focused on; one, to secure households with food and nutrition with a number of programs rolled out in respect to that; and two, to boost commercial agriculture as it was seen as a critical sector that Fiji had economic potential and strength, and therefore, the reason there was a need to expand commercial agriculture.